This month my husband and I celebrated our thirtieth anniversary of wedded bliss. Okay, in truth all thirty years were not blissful. Some years were really good, some were full of challenge, and some were status quo. That is the nature of any partnership.
Still, in this day and age, a marriage that lasts thirty years is something to celebrate. I can’t think of even one of my classmates that I hung with that is still married to their first partner. That statement is not meant to be a slight to anyone who has suffered through a marriage break up but to point to the fact that marriage is not easy.
I thought about why we’ve lasted so long. We are still in love and for the most part still happy (there is that snoring thing after all) and we have no plans to change our relationship status on Facebook or anywhere else for that matter but over the years there have been three separate words of wisdom bestowed on me that has given me perspective to our success.
The first was a piece of advise my best bud’s mother gave to her that she past on to me. “The best thing you can do for your children is pick a good father for them.” No doubt the reverse is true as well. As a product of divorce myself, I feel strongly that children need both a father and a mother taking part in the raising to create decent human beings. While I will concede that as long as both parties are dedicated to their children, divorced couples can do a great job as well but having the security of both parents committed to each other as well builds a strong family unit that creates self confident offspring.
I remember thinking, the first time I was told this advice, how blind ass lucky I was. I got married when I was 21. What does any 21 year old know about picking a good co-parent for their future children. All I knew was that I was head over heals in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man. Although, in retrospect, I do remember being impressed with how my husband interacted with his parents and siblings so maybe on some subconscious level I was looking for a good parent for my future kids.
The second piece of advise I got along the way was more of a statement than advise. A retired friend of mine who has a successful marriage told me that when her husband asked her to marry him, she thought to herself, “this is someone who I could hang out with for the rest of my life.”
Love is important for making a marriage last but when you are young, love can be mistaken for passion. For a marriage to be successful you have to really like each other and actually want to be with each other, hanging out doing day to day things. When you are old and married for years and years, friendship becomes more fulfilling than passion.
The third piece of wisdom came from an unlikely source. While flipping through the channels one night I came across the movie “Serious Moonlight” with Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton. In the movie the husband is having an affair and planning on leaving the marriage and the wife goes to extremes to stop him. In one scene, the wife (Meg Ryan) says to the husband (Timothy Hutton), “You promised me we would be together forever. How can you break that promise?”
At the end of the day, marriage is about commitment. We give our word that we will love, honour, cherish, and put no other before them. Along the way, you will tempted, you will have second thoughts, you may even not like your partner for periods of time but if you value the sacredness of making a promise you will weather whatever storm may come and stick it out.
Our word is one of the only thing a person can truly give of themselves. Honorable people don’t break their promises. A couple is more apt to work through difficulties if you are committed and have complete trust that your partner is just as committed to the promise as well.
I feel incredible blessed that my husband and I have been able to make a good life together and that we were able to show our children a loving example of marriage while giving them a strong family unit to feel safe in so they could grow and become amazing human beings.
As a gift to each other we are off to Mexico to toast our longevity with a Margarita or two in the sun and with a little luck look forward to another thirty years.